There’s a strange realization that comes with this kind of obsession. Certain questions arise: Are you obsessed with seeing something standing brought to ash? Is it the beautiful colors: orange, yellow and red? Do you like the warmth and the powerful glow, like a well of energy? Maybe you just like to destroy?
I was already in the daughter’s–Vanessa’s–bedroom. The fire was crawling up the wall like vines from hell. It destroyed the wallpaper and singed the hardwood flooring. On her dresser, laid some cosmetics, a cheap lamp and some dirty laundry. What grabbed my eye were the photos of her and her father. They both looked happy and young. Surely tens of years had passed. Vanessa no longer a small girl chasing butterflies in a park, and her father no longer a simple man, dedicated to the fountain of endless love from his child. I was taken aback by the pictures. There were only two of them, which led me to the assumption that they never truly spent enough time with each other. A bleach white plush unicorn, sat on the unmade bed. A small flame creep onto its back. The white hairs began to turn black. I had see enough.
I moved into the hallway. Once a highway for these home dwellers to move between the bathroom, kitchen, storage room, etc. It was now a tunnel of fire. The bright, sun like glow from the flames, pierced through the heavy black smoke. I moved without much care. Even my clothes retained their appearance, as though I had a protective shield enveloping my body. The fact that I deserve a shield from the danger was ironic to say the least.
The next room I entered was that of the mother and step-father. I couldn’t remember his name. All documentation in the house was now either ash or embers, so it would’ve been pointless for me to investigate. The fire hadn’t consumed this room as of yet. Only black smoke filled it.What I immediately saw was a gun. A loaded weapon siting on the bed. An odd place, but expected from a senior member of the local police. Why he reacted to his home burning down in this way, is beyond me. I clicked the safety to the ‘on’ position and walked towards the nightstand.
Kat was a beautiful woman. She had large breasts and a soft face. The green eyes she had, both soothed and tormented. A woman of endearing strength and boundless love. I don’t know the details but if I had to guess, this isn’t her first remarriage. Pictures laid across her nightstand. There were some of the current husband, but most of them were of her and Vanessa. I recognized one in particular. The backdrop was of a waterfall that they hiked up to, situated in the north-west. They looked happy, so full of joy. I moved to Kat’s dresser. I pulled open the top drawer. Her bras and panties laid jumbled together among some of the man’s underwear. A silk ruby red bra, struck me. I reached out to feel it. A final sensual touch before it would disappear in the fire.
An audible click snapped through the air. A muffled voice grew from the smoke and crackling blaze. “Who the fuck are you!” He said.
He hadn’t killed me yet. Which was good news. His pride or hubris or whatever got his dick up in morning, was telling him he needed to figure this whole thing out. In order to start divulging this mystery, he needed me alive. He needed a suspect. So predictable.
“Easy cowboy.” I said, raising my hands slowly over my head.
I turned slowly.
“Don’t move a muscle!” His muffled voice rang out, as though it was filtered through a megaphone.
“I’m going to make this very clear. This house will collapse in a matter of minutes. You will die.” I said.
“Shut the fuck up and don’t move!” The step-dad shouted again.
I was now facing him. He was wearing fire fighter equipment, fitted with a oxygen tank and breathing mask. He was holding his pistol at point blank. Finger resting confidently on the trigger.
“This is a shitty plan!” I shouted.
“Tell me who you are!” He replied. “Or I’ll kill you before the fire does.”
“Go ahead the–”
He snapped the safety off.
“safety is… never mind.”
“I swear to god I’ll kill you right here and right now if do not cooperate. I have no remorse. Just tell me your name and we can work this out.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Then I have to kill you!” He shouted.
“You can. You are absolutely, one-hundred percent, aloud to do that. It won’t stop you from–”
He pulled the trigger. The moment the hammer hit the round, the pistol exploded in his hand. He screamed out in agony. Fingers were missing. Crimson red blood sprang from his hand like a sprinkler. He cried out.
I walked towards him. He collapsed on the soot covered carpet.
“I’m sorry. That happened because I didn’t start the fire. I am the fire.”
He screamed for help.
“It happened a long time ago. Essentially I died and lost my wife and my daughter.”
He tried coming back to his feet.
“I was reborn, like a phoenix.” I smiled. “I have total control over this burning house right now. Including the spark in that gun”
A perplexed look crawled across his face.
“Which means I can save your life. And I will.” I leaned in. “But for a price.”
Completely numb to his surroundings he asked. “What price?”
“I need your help to find the man who killed me all those years ago. The man who stole my family. The man who burned me alive.”
He looked at the blood pouring out of his hand and passed out.
“Great. I hope he caught all of that.”
I took his left arm over my shoulder and carried him out of the burning building. A wall of fire that blocked the backdoor that lead to the backyard, became a tunnel in my presence. I kicked open the door and ran to the moist grass. I lay him down, away from the patio and called for help. EMT’s and fire fighters covered the entire block. I explained to them I found an injured rescue worker. They ran to him with great urgency.
I walked towards the sidewalk. There I saw my beautiful Vanessa, standing behind a checkered safety gate, staring into the inferno that consumed her home. Next to her was Kat, the woman whom I had loved more than anything. She was wearing her night gown. Her figure caused my heart to beat faster than anything I had felt in a long time. I pulled the hood from my jacket over my head and passed by them silently. I walked quietly between the firetrucks, ambulances and neighbors.
I entered the dark midnight. A black beyond the fire I had created. I prayed I would be able to finish my quest or appease who ever brought me back to my life. I hoped that my daughter and my wife wouldn’t forget me again.